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Jishnu Das

Learning Levels and Gaps in Pakistan

A Comparison with Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh

This paper reports on student achievement in public and private primary schools in rural Pakistan and compares the findings with those rom Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In Pakistan, absolute learning is low and the largest gaps are between good and bad government schools. The gap between children with literate and illiterate mothers is huge. Tested at the end of Grade 3, a bare majority of children have mastered the K-1 mathematics curriculum and only 31% can correctly form a sentence with the word "school" in Urdu. The gap in English test-scores between government and private schools is 12 times the gap between children from rich and poor families. Data from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh suggest similar levels of learning and educational gaps.

Evaluating the RSBY: Lessons from an Experimental Information Campaign

Launched in 2008, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana provides financial protection from health shocks for poor households. This paper discusses findings from an experimental information and education campaign and household survey carried out in the first year of the programme in Delhi. First, the iec had no impact on enrolment, but households who were part of the household survey sample and therefore received information closer to the enrolment period were 60% more likely to enrol. Second, there is little evidence that the insurance company selectively enrolled healthier households. Instead, hospital claims were lower for households who received the iec and for households who received both the survey and the iec, suggesting that the marginal household enrolled was in fact healthier. Implications for the programme and its evaluation are discussed in the light of these findings.

Strained Mercy

The quality of medical care is a potentially important determinant of health outcomes, but remains an understudied area. The limited research that exists defines quality either on the basis of drug availability or facility characteristics, but little is known about how provider quality affects the provision of health care. We address this gap through a survey in Delhi with two related components. We evaluate 'competence' (what providers know) through vignettes and practice (what providers do) through direct clinical observation. Overall quality, as measured by the competence necessary to recognise and handle common and dangerous conditions, is quite low albeit with tremendous variation. While there is some correlation with simple observed characteristics, there is still an enormous amount of variation within such categories. Further, even when providers know what to do they often don't do it in practice. This appears to be true in both the public and private sectors but for very different, and systematic, reasons. The study has important policy implications for our understanding of how market failures and failures of regulation in the health sector affect the poor.

Institutions and Incentives in a Garhwal Village-I

Historical evidence is often used to support decentralised solutions to resource conservation, where local inhabitants manage common resources in the region. Using data from a field study in Garhwal, this article points out that the analysis on which this evidence is based does not take into account the economic environment at that time. Once the chronic shortage of labour in these economies is explicitly recognised, an alternative explanation for most 'institutions' of resource conservation, based on the need to conserve labour, can be provided. This challenges the prevailing view of the Garhwali inhabitant as traditionally 'conservationist', and has significant repercussions for policy.

Institutions and Incentives in a Garhwal Village-I

Historical evidence is often used to support decentralised solutions to resource conservation, where local inhabitants manage common resources in the region. Using data from a field study in Garhwal, this article points out that the analysis on which this evidence is based does not take into account the economic environment at that time. Once the chronic shortage of labour in these economies is explicitly recognised, an alternative explanation for most 'institutions' of resource conservation, based on the need to conserve labour, can be provided. This challenges the prevailing view of the Garhwali inhabitant as traditionally 'conservationist', and has significant repercussions for policy.